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Canada's Ethnocultural Mosaic, 2006 Census: National picture

Cultural mosaic within the visible minority population

Canada's visible minority population is ethnoculturally diverse, with some groups exhibiting more diversity than the others.

In 2006, the majority (82.9%) of the visible minority population reported only one ethnic origin. The remaining (17.1%) of the visible minority population reported multiple ethnic origins, that is, individuals provided two or more ethnic origins.

Although Japanese was numerically one of the smallest visible minority groups—1.6% of all visible minorities identified as Japanese in 2006—they had the highest proportion (30.0%) reporting multiple ethnic origins.

Almost three in 10 Blacks (28.4%) reported more than one ethnic origin. The most frequently reported ethnic origins among Black visible minority group were Caribbean and African. Nearly one-quarter (24.5%) of Blacks reported Jamaican origin, either alone or in combination with other origins, while 12.3% reported Haitian origin.

Among the most common African origins reported by Blacks in 2006 were Somali (4.5%), Ghanaian (2.9%), Ethiopian (2.8%) and Nigerian (2.4%). Just over one-tenth (11.6%) of Black visible minorities also reported British Isles origins, 10.9% reported Canadian origin and 4.1% reported French origin.

South Asians were also a diverse group in terms of ancestral background, many of them coming from various parts of the Indian subcontinent. Fully 69.0% of the South Asian visible minority members reported East Indian as their ethnic origin, either alone or with a combination of other origins. Another 9.3% reported Pakistani, 7.8%, Sri Lankan, 4.1%, Punjabi, 2.7%, Tamil and 1.8%, Bangladeshi.

Also, about 2.7% South Asian visible minorities reported Canadian origin, either alone or with other origins; 2.5% reported British Isles origins, such as English, Irish and Scottish; and 2.6% reported European origins, such as Portuguese.

Overall, about 13.1% of the South Asian visible minority members reported multiple origins.

The Korean visible minority group had the smallest proportion of its members reporting multiple ethnic origins. Only 3.7% reported having more than one ethnic origin. The majority (96.3%) reported only one ethnic origin. In fact, virtually all Korean visible minorities reported Korean ethnic ancestry.

Similar to the Koreans, the Chinese visible minority group had a relatively small proportion (7.0%) of its members with multiple ethnic origins.

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